No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Rollplay at Derwent Lower School

(Similar session with my daughter's year group at St Marks primary, Basingstoke)

This week I'm making bread with each of my 3 grandchildren's (9, 7 and 5) classes, starting with:

Monday 20th June. (Further down you'll find my report and pics from the other two sessions.)
First session today, with year 3 - otherwise known as 'Foxes'. 18 children including my granddaughter Olivia, who assisted me admirably.

We arranged the tables in a semi-circle, 2 to a table, one bowl to each pair.

We were making bread rolls, basically (any shape), to this recipe:
1 mug flour, quarter of a teaspoon of salt, 1/3rd mug of lukewarm water and one teaspoon of yeast .
After showing the youngsters how I mix and knead a dough, I demonstrated a few shapes of animals, and also some fancy dinner rolls - with the following results:











Tomorrow it's Alfie's turn - up to 30 year one youngsters!

(I have to to say the support from the head, teachers and support staff has been brilliant! The kids were pretty good, too!)

Tuesday 20th June.
30 year one children lined up behind10 tables, each with a mixing bowl, a mug and a teaspoon. W did exactly the same as we did yesterday - but it was necessarily a bit more hectic. Nevertheless, an hour later, all the bread was proving on top of the oven whilst the children went out to PE.

Here are the results:





I've been fortunate these last two days, in that I've been teaching in the afternoon, which has meant I've been able to use the school kitchen - so proving and baking the bread hasn't been a problem.

Tomorrow's session, with 20 or so year 4 children is in the morning. Unless the kitchen can squeeze me in for half an hour, say, around 10.30-11.00, I'll be reduced to using the domestic oven in the staff room - not so convenient.

On the other hand, it's quite likely that a session with the older year 4 youngsters will be more organised than the younger groups. It'll be interesting to see if the results will be any different.

Wednesday 22nd June.
Last one today - and we were able to switch the session to the afternoon. Once again I received complete co-operation from the teacher - although there was no support this time.

Because the children were that little bit older I was able to go into the science of breadmaking a bit more: the byproducts of the action of the yeast - CO2 and alcohol - and how the bakery and the brewery were next to one another in ancient societies. We also touched on the connection between yeast and mammals and how, billions of years ago, we shared a common ancestor. Which is why, even today, we need the same temperature  to thrive.  (I make the comparison between the temperature of the yeast liquid and bathwater: "You don't leap into a bath without checking the temperature first!")

Here's some of the bread we made. Unfortunately, I forgot about recording the results until several children had taken their bread away. I was busy sorting out whose bread was whose, so I gave my camera to my granddaughter, Phoebe, who took as many pics as she could:







About the photo's: I could have just selected some of the best examples - and made a nice portfolio. However, I wanted to  show the bread just as it came out of the oven - and I promised the kids I'd put all their bread on my blog - and I did (mostly!).

To sum up the last three days: I've had a lot of fun, I've met a lot of good professionals who work in an excellent school. And I hope I've shown 60+ children that breadmaking is not at all scary - it's a simple, enjoyable activity!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

HUMANE KILLING? IT DOESN'T EXIST!

There are three reasons one should adopt a vegan, whole food, plant-based (WFPB) - lifestyle:
For the sake of your health - vegans live longer and healthier than other populations;
For the sake of our planet - raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined; and,
For the sake of the animals.

The most immediate of these is, of course, Animal Welfare. Every day millions of innocent beings - earthlings, just like us - are being mutilated, tortured and murdered, for no good reason.

Have a look what happens (albeit heavily censored) in a slaughterhouse. Don't watch this if your intention is to eat meat regardless of the suffering caused!

Here's the view of a farmer's daughter:
"Dairy is an Everyday Dystopian Horror"

To my undying shame, for 64 years I was a full participant in this. I was an avid meat-eater - every meal had to have some meat with it. Any veggies were just an adjunct.

In 2001, at the height of the CJD (Mad Cow) scare, I decided to give up meat and become a vegetarian. Over the next 2 years, as I became aware of the horrors and animal abuse in the dairy industry, I gradually gave up all dairy. About that time there was a graphic film on the BBC showing how male chicks are simply discarded shortly after birth - by gassing, or simply being tossed into a grinder. So I gave up eating eggs.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

PRESS UP CHALLENGES: 100 IN A MINUTE - AND 1 MILLION IN 10 YEARS

In July 2016, I managed 1175 press ups in 1 hour, raising £850 for the local YMCA and Taunton Association for the Homeless. I did this by doing a set of 20 press ups every minute, roughly, for the hour. 

I’ve kept practicing and my plan for this year's challenge is to see how many I can do in one minute. To my surprise, I’ve built up to over 100 in one minute.

I turn 80 in a few days or so, and my intention is to raise more money for charity by getting a 1 minute video of my efforts up on to YouTube. I'm still improving, and there's no doubt I'll smash my 100 press up target.

I also intend to do 1 million press ups between my 80th and 90th birthdays. To accomplish this I need to do 100,000 a year, approx 2,000 a week. I want to leave a day’s rest between my efforts, and have Sunday off, so a routine of 650 on 3 days of the week is what I'm aiming for.

Latest news! (Or should that be breaking news?)
The date has been set - I shall make the attempt at 2.00pm on Tuesday 31st October, at the YMCA, Taunton.

Now I just need to open a JustGiving page - watch this space!


Friday, 13 October 2017

WHY EGGS should be off the menu

10 medical reasons not to consume eggs. (Joel Kahn, MD)

Eggs vs Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis (Michael Greger, MD)


"...the head of USDA’s Poultry Research and Promotion program... “you can’t couch eggs [or] egg products as being ‘healthy’ or ‘nutritious.'”
(Who says eggs aren't healthy or safe? - Michael Greger, MD)

Smashing the myth that eggs are a health food (Jesse J. Jacoby, Plant Based News)

What's Wrong With Eggs? The Truth About The Egg Industry - (Erin Janus)


Free range is a con. There is no such thing as an ethical egg. (Chas Newkey-Burden - The Guardian)

So, to sum up: Eggs are unhealthy; egg production is inherently cruel; and is the cause of enormous pollution.

Egg replacement.
There are several alternatives for eggs - a quick online search brings up the main ones. But eggs are often unnecessary in recipes - for instance I never use eggs in my cake or bread recipes. And very good pancakes can be made without eggs or milk.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

VEGAN INFO - AS IT COMES MY WAY

Almost every other day, new health research becomes available, more animal cruelty is exposed, or there's more evidence of the spread of veganism. So when I come across it, I'll post it here.

There's also global warming/climate change - the biggest challenge to our survival. Here are some facts about the effects of livestock raising from the film Cowspiracy.

I have several friends who either have cancer or have family members with the disease, so I've gathered together some of the research on what can be done to fight this.

A whole food, plant-based diet and cancer.

Intermittent fasting and cancer.

Friday, 29 September 2017

INTERMITTENT FASTING AND CANCER


One of the reasons I began intermittent fasting (IF) in February 2012 was evidence that fasting had some effect on cancer cells. It was the reference to prostate cancer cells being susceptible to fasting that provoked my initial interest!

The evidence suggested that, whilst fasting, the body’s cells go into repair mode – but invasive cells (cancers, tumours) are neglected and become easier to treat.

Since then evidence continues to accumulate that this is so – but in my experience, the research is disparate and scattered.

I wanted to bring any research that I have come across into one place; to which I can refer any friends and relatives who may know someone with cancer – unfortunately all too common an occurrence latterly, it seems to me.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

VEGAN FOOD - BOTH PROCESSED AND HOMEMADE

I've been asked by several people - one of whom is intending to become vegan - just what is in my diet.

I eat a lot of whole food meals  - veg stews and the like - but I also have a fair number of processed vegan foods in my cupboards/fridge and freezer. So as well as listing everything I eat, I thought I'd take some pictures:

Cupboard...

...freezer...
...and fridge

[More to come]

A WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED (VEGAN) DIET AND CANCER

Why is there such a huge disparity in prostate cancer rates? For instance the incidence of clinically malignant prostate cancer is highest in African-Americans—some 30-fold greater than in Japanese men, and 120 times greater than seen in Chinese men in Shanghai. The reason has to do with lifestyle.

When I began intermittent fasting (something else I would recommend for optimum health), I did so because it was shown to reduce the level of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1) in the body: IGF-1 being a marker of cancer risk (the more IGF-1, the more risk of cancer growth). It turns out that a WFPB diet also lowers IGF-1. Cow’s milk, being designed to produce a 600lb calf in very short order, is packed with IGF-1. (It’s also, because cows are made to produce milk whilst pregnant, full of oestrogen and other unwanted hormones).

"Higher levels of insulin-like growth factor 1or IGF-1, have been associated with increased risk of colon, lung and breast cancer."

Dr Michael Greger, who runs NutritionFacts.org, has many short videos on how diet influences cancer. Cancer and a WFPB diet is just one of them. Whenever I look at one of Dr Greger's videos, it's always worth checking out the comments section, there is a wealth of info in there - plus some inspirational stories!

Effects of a low-fat, high-fiber diet and exercise program on breast cancer risk factors in vivo and tumor cell growth and apoptosis in vitro.



Stunning results from the largest diet/nutrition study ever: Cornell University: 




There's more, much more, info out there - but I urge everyone to do their own research.

Friday, 25 August 2017

SIMPLE SODA BREAD - IN THE FRYING PAN (VEGAN)

Plain soda bread

Ingredients:
1 mug or 200g self raising flour (Or: wholemeal flour and 2tsps baking powder)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3rd mug or 125ml water

Method:
1. Put the frying pan on a low heat. Using a non-stick pan, you don't need any oil - but if you feel it may stick in your pan, add the bare minimum.

2. Place the flour (with baking powder if using) and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the water and begin mixing with a table knife or similar.

3.  This is known as a quick bread, so, working quickly, mix together into a soft dough, stirring and cutting through the dough as it forms, adding more flour or water as needed. Turn it out onto a floured worktop, firmly mould it into a round flat loaf, about 1cm thick and place it into the frying pan.  (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.) Increase the heat to medium.

4. Put a kitchen timer on for 5 minutes, then check the colour underneath the bread - you're looking for a good, even colour. Turn the bread over and cook the other side. Once again, don't forget the timer.

5. When you're happy with it, put it to cool on a wire rack and – for a softer crust – wrap the bread in a tea cloth.

Fruit soda bread:
At step two, instead of the salt, add 1 dessertspoon of sugar, half a mug (100g) of dried fruit and a teaspoon of mixed spice. Then proceed as above.

Curried soda bread
At step two, along with the salt, add a teaspoon of curry powder.

Notes:
Here's how I made this frying pan bread in only 13 minutes!

And, my new record, bread made in a sandwich toaster in only 8 minutes!

Here's the recipe for this bread baked in an oven.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

VEGAN PARKIN - the concise recipe

(The story behind this recipe.)
Simple Parkin (vegan)

Ingredients:
100g porridge oats
100g wholemeal flour (for a gluten-free (ish) version, substitute with Dove's gluten free flour)
2 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
4 tsps ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
100g sugar
100g blackstrap molasses (or treacle if you can’t find molasses)
220g lukewarm water
80g vegetable oil

Method:
       Preheat the oven to 180C [or see microwave version below]
       Measure the oats, flour, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice and stir to distribute the ingredients
       Gently heat the molasses and water together to approximately blood heat and add to dry ingredients
       Add the oil to the mix and stir – initially with a large spoon or spatula, then with a whisk
       Pour in to an oiled and lined 20cm (8” inch) cake tin
       Put in the oven and cook for between 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
       Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes
Turn out on to the cooling tray

With a traditional parkin it is recommended you leave it for several days to mature. This is supposed to enhance the taste. I’ve no idea whether this works with this recipe – as, in this house, the parkin disappears very quickly after cooling. It is simply gorgeous from the moment it is cool enough to eat.

The only way I’ve found not to gorge on this cake is to, as soon as possible, cut it into, say, 50g pieces, then put them in the freezer. This way I can allow myself one piece per day.

If anyone has the strength and fortitude to keep the parkin for several days to see if it does in fact improve with keeping, I’d be very glad to hear from them!

Variation: For a gluten free version of this, simply use Dove’s gluten free flour in place of the wholemeal flour - and you'll need GF oats.

27th July.
Following a conversation on the Wildfood forum about microwaving carrot cake, I decided I'd try this with parkin.

I put my 800w microwave on for 3 minutes - and the parkin looked like this:


Baked in the oven my silicon cake form contains the parkin easily - but it rose much more in the microwave, as you can see! 
Once it's turned out onto the cooling rack, you can't tell the difference between a cake made in the oven - or in the microwave!
Comparing the two methods of baking:
40 minutes in the oven (with 10 minutes warm-up time), as against 5 minutes in the microwave - and you get a better risen cake!